Note: My trip was sponsored by Visit Boise. However, all words and images are mine.
I had heard of Treefort Music Festival in recent years because Denver bands have been steadily playing it, and speaking highly of it. I was thrilled when the Boise Visitor’s Bureau asked me to come in, cover the festival and explore what the city had to offer.
Boise is a small city nestled in the Idaho mountains, with a ton of charm. Its population is approaching 225,000 – so there is enough hustle and bustle to feel the energy but not so much to be overwhelmed. Especially “during Treefort time,” a phrase I heard many locals say as they met up for drinks before bands started each day.
In some ways, the festival starts with a sad story; producer Lori Shandro’s husband died in a plane crash in 2009. She turned to music in her grief and then felt Treefort was a way to give back to the community that had helped her so much. What a gift.
But Treefort is not just music. They take a page from SXSW’s book and have various “forts” for different interests: alefort, comedyfort, filmfort, foodfort, hackerfort, kidfort, skatefort, storyfort and yogafort. There really is something for everyone. Plus, Treefort is timed right after SXSW in Austin so touring bands can add Boise to their route.
Boise was easily walkable, and I got to know my way around really quickly by hitting the wide variety of venues included in Treefort. Basically… it felt to me like they took all the coolest spots in Denver and placed them within a 1 mile radius. Yeah, awesome.
Treefort Music Festival Venues
- Basque Center
- Boise Contemporary Theater
- District Coffee House
- Egyptian Theatre
- El Korah Shrine
- Fatty’s Bar
- Humpin’ Hannah’s
- Knitting Factory
- Linen Building
- Mardi Gras Ballroom
- Movement Project
- The Olympic
- Pengilly’s Saloon
- The Reef
- The Shredder
- Spacebar Arcade
- Tom Grainey’s
- Treefort Main Stage
I was shocked by the sheer number of local Boise bands, but Treefort includes bands from all over the world – although the primary other cities are Seattle, Portland and Denver – which makes sense. (I gotta admit, it was super fun to see some of my fave local bands in a far away setting!)
Over 450 bands perform at more than two dozen venues, so it was impossible to see them all. But I tried as best I could.
Treefort Music Festival 2017 Concert Photos
Displayed in random order. On desktop, click any thumbnail for a larger version. Then use the navigation bar on top (or your keyboard arrow keys) to move left and right through the photographs.
Food and Dining in Boise
In between all this music and beer, of course you have to eat. I found a wide variety of places that catered to every whim. Some of my favorites included the Bittercreek Alehouse (who have a “low power” happy hour every day, with dimmed lights), Wild Root Cafe (get the “Power Bowl” with salmon – trust me on this!), Guru Donuts and The Basque Market.
But of course no trip to Idaho would be complete without tons and tons of taters. There were many varieties at Boise Fry Company, but I like my fries straight up with ketchup.
Think that Treefort is all there is to do in Boise? Nope.
Check out Boise’s visitor’s guide for many more suggestions!
For a music lover like me, attending Treefort was a great way to explore Boise. But I can absolutely see my family coming back anytime for a long weekend, because there is so much to do there besides music!